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Articles By Author - Pete Mecca


Ride for the fallen

Their military uniforms are packed away in a storage bin somewhere in a dusty attic, or perhaps hanging in the back room closet protected by a sheet of plastic, yet still discolored from years of disuse. Row upon row of multi-hued service ribbons are still pinned over the left breast pocket. Few, if any, of the veterans attempt to squeeze into their old threads of service since age and one too many chocolate donuts have taken a toll, yet these senior warriors continue to serve most honorably in so many different ways.

May 17, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


The little ship that could

Habitually identified as the Splinter Fleet, the tiny 110 foot wood-hulled Sub Chasers of WWII held the title as the smallest commissioned ship in the US Navy. A Sub Chaser cruised at around 12 knots with flank speed no more than 20 knots. The more popular PT-Boats of McHales's Navy renown were only 80 feet in length and commonly hit 40 knots, but PT-Boats were commissioned collectively in squadrons, not individually.

May 11, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


WWII Days

The B-24 Liberator was overdue. Ugly gray clouds and a misty overcast cut visibility to less than a mile. Hot and sticky, the crewmembers had been airborne most of the day and they were eager to land. Big sweat beads rolled off their faces and dripped onto the metal floor. The nose art on front of the B-24 identified her as Diamond Lil. Ground personnel were anxious, hoping Diamond Lil could make the airfield. Unattractive and ungraceful, the B-24 merited a reputation for difficult handling and unpredictable flight characteristics.

May 03, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


A Pearl Harbor Story

Aboard the battleship USS California, Dec. 7, 1941. The time: 7:55 a.m. Wayne Shelnut was nursing a hot cup of coffee after breakfast when someone screamed, "What is that airplane doing up there?" Wayne walked a few steps to the door and looked up. A plane with a big red ball painted on the fuselage passed over the California then dropped a bomb on Ford Island. General quarters sounded and startled sailors ran to their battle stations. 100 crewmembers would die and 62 others would be wounded. World War II had caught our Pacific Fleet sound asleep at ...

April 26, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Never stop searching

November 28, 1972 - Udorn AFB, Thailand: The F-4 Phantom jet lifts off with Captain Jack Harvey at the controls. Flight surgeon Major Bobby Jones rides in the backseat. Major Jones is on the non-combat 'hop' to Da Nang, Vietnam, for one reason, to log the needed hours to maintain his flight surgeon status. The flight is uneventful until about 18 miles out from Da Nang. Something has gone horribly wrong in the vicinity of cloud-covered Bach Ma Mountain.

April 19, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Red Cross Donut Dollies bring a touch of home

Due to the ingenuity and can-do attitude of Yanks in World War II, the British witnessed their London Lorries remodeled into odd-looking clubmobiles that smelled of coffee and donuts. In July and August of 1944, brand-new clubmobiles crossed the stormy English Channel as remodeled two-and-a-half ton Army trucks. These vehicles also smacked of hot Joe and circular pastry. Eventually 80 clubmobiles and 320 females known as "clubmobile girls" braved the hazards of war to provide our soldiers with familiar tastes and a touch of home. Fifty-two of the ladies would die in the line of duty.

April 12, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


The unstoppable journalist

November, 1965 - the Ia Drang Valley, Vietnam.

April 05, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Mecca: Old Soldiers Never Die

The closing paragraph of General Douglas MacArthur's April 19, 1951 address to Congress: "I still remember the refrain of one of the most popular barracks ballads of the day which proclaimed most proudly that old soldiers never die; they just fade away. And like the old soldier in the ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away, an old soldier who tried to do his duty as God gave him the light to see that duty."

April 02, 2015 | Pete Mecca | DIGITAL NEWSPAPER


Old soldiers never die

The closing paragraph of General Douglas MacArthur's April 19, 1951 address to Congress: "I still remember the refrain of one of the most popular barracks ballads of the day which proclaimed most proudly that old soldiers never die; they just fade away. And like the old soldier in the ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away, an old soldier who tried to do his duty as God gave him the light to see that duty."

March 31, 2015 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Our boys are coming home

Twelve heroes from Newton County and 11 of their brothers from Rockdale County are coming home. Befitting the 40th Anniversary of the ending of the Vietnam War, the Vietnam Moving Wall will be on display in May at the Walk of Heroes War Memorial. And thanks to one man - Bud Sosebee - our heroes will have a noble venue for their homecoming.

March 29, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


A Veteran's Story: Our Boys are Coming Home

Eleven heroes from Rockdale County and twelve of their brothers from Newton County are coming home. Befitting the 40th Anniversary of the ending of the Vietnam War, the Moving Wall – a traveling half-sized replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. – will be on display at the Walk of Heroes War Memorial in Rockdale County, May 6-12. And thanks to one man, Bud Sosebee, our heroes will have a noble venue for their homecoming.

March 26, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


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Archive By Author - Pete Mecca


Downed pilots finally come home

An airfield in northeast Thailand designated as NKP (Nakhon Phanom) during the Vietnam War was actually a Royal Thai Naval Base. The Thais utilized NKP as a home base for river patrols along the murky Mekong River, the internationally accepted border between Thailand and Laos. The small community of Nakhon Phanom on the banks of the Mekong became a boom town during the American involvement in Southeast Asia.

March 04, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Virgil Weems helped to integrate Marines

After absurd bickering and declining political roadblocks, "men of color" were finally able to serve in the United States Marine Corps. The date was June 1, 1942. Sent to Camp Lejeune, N.C., for training, black recruits quickly discovered a segregated military still existed; they were assigned to a separate training facility called Montford Point.

February 25, 2014 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


A wintry lesson in perspective

It's not yet 10 a.m. on Wednesday Feb. 12, and the Peach State's 2014 Icemageddon already has Georgians in its Arctic grip.

February 18, 2014 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Unsung heroes: Remembering black soldiers

Fortunately, Black History Month basically assures us that young Americans will be taught about the immortals of African-American achievement. The contributions by Americans with the names Frederick Douglass, W.E. B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver and Martin Luther King Jr. should be known to all teachers and students of American history.

February 15, 2014 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Wyatt's 27-year military career left him with vivid memories

Call it divine intervention, luck or just a turn of events – Charles Wyatt had his life saved.

February 10, 2014 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Woman's family has proud military tradition

ive branches of the military are officially recognized: Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Navy, and Marines. This journalist, though, believes that two other factions should be commended: the Merchant Marines and the Home Front.

February 04, 2014 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


German pilot showed humanity amidst the inhumanity of WWII

The B-17 pilot was 21 years old, a farm boy from Weston, W. Va., on his first combat mission over the German heartland. His adversary, a former Bavarian airline pilot from Regensburg, Germany, was now a crack pilot for the Luftwaffe, with 22 kills to his credit. He was one victory away from winning the celebrated Knight's Cross. The date: Dec 20, 1943.

January 28, 2014 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


The greatest generation of athletes

y recent article on Hollywood's participation in World War II created a tidal wave of emails pleading, "What about the athletes who served?" Indeed they did, in great numbers, and this is their partial story.

January 21, 2014 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Freedman: Heroism in world's trouble spots

This is the second of two parts of Gary Freedman's story.

January 14, 2014 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Vietnam was only the beginning of this soldier's story

Occasionally, an interview with a veteran challenges my creative abilities. How do I properly relate the story of a military career seemingly beyond normal human aptitudes? This is one of those stories, much too condensed to suitably honor hard-earned accomplishments.

January 07, 2014 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Tuskegee Airmen assured fellow pilots a happy new year

Nov. 14, 1944:

December 31, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


In 1914, warring soldiers chose peace on earth

When governments can no longer manage their international responsibilities, soldiers are sent to wage the needed war to restore failed politics.

December 23, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


A Veteran's Story: Rockdale’s finest continue to serve

Cpl. Dexter Harris of the Rockdale Sheriff's Department joined the Army in 1987, just three weeks out of high school.

December 17, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


During World War II, Hollywood got serious

Many years ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a metropolis called Hollywood hunkered down to stand up and man-up for its native land. Instead of marketing political correctness, Hollywood's residents put their lives on the line for grassroots notions called individualism, capitalism and freedom. A port called Pearl Harbor transformed the make-believers into freedom-fighters.

December 10, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Pearl Harbor: Japan's biggest mistake

Hamilton Field near San Francisco on Dec. 6, 1941, at 0900: Thirteen B-17s take off at 15-minute intervals for a 15-hour flight to Pearl Harbor. The crossing was long and boring.

December 05, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


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